A few weeks ago a far-away friend reminded me of the importance of keeping in touch with those who mean the most to us but whose paths no longer naturally cross ours.
Using Skype, a phone call can become a face-to-face visit where we better experience our precious time together.
She was speaking from her heart after having just learned that a dear friend, a near-family member, had died a few days earlier. She went on to describe the details that were most important to her about who he was and how he had made her feel. She recalled her precious memories of him and how she planned to spend time that evening listening to his favorite music. She also spoke of her regret.
Previously I have talked about how our assumption that what we said was understood in the way we meant it can lead to miscommunication.
We think we hear clearly, but our perceptions and assumptions can distort the true meaning of another’s words, and lead to an incorrect view of reality.
I’ve also talked about how making the assumption that what the other person is going to say is not important enough for us to listen without distraction also leads to miscommunication.
Both a failure to verify the other person has accurately understood what we mean, and a failure to listen, cause misunderstandings in our conversations and ultimately work against our relationships. Our incorrect assumptions weaken our relationships instead of strengthen them because they hide the truth.
There is a third way we weaken our relationships instead of strengthening them and that is when we assume that our interpretation of what another person has said is correct and absolute.
“What we’ve got here is (a) failure to communicate“
Some of you might recognize this as a line from the 1967 movie, Cool Hand Luke.
We all have our moments when we realize we have had a failure to communicate and we’re scratching our heads wondering, “how did this happen?”
As a listener, we must give speakers our undivided attention if we are to catch the full meaning of their words and connect with them.
It takes two to miscommunicate. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how assumptions are the cause of miscommunications. One assumption by listeners contributes to miscommunication– the assumption that what the speaker is saying is not important enough to warrant full attention.
I watch this happen nearly every day. Sometimes I’m the listener. Continue reading